Also on September 20, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell replied to a question asked by a reporter: “Mr. Secretary, [your] Russian guests provided you with proof of a connection between the Georgian leadership and terrorists. Do they look convincing to you?” by responding, “They provided us some information that we will be examining, and until we have made that examination I don’t think it would be appropriate for me to comment” (Dossec@lists.state.gov, September 20).
The website Polit.ru wrote on September 20: “Today [President] Eduard Shevardnadze received from [George W.] Bush a letter thanking him for his invaluable contribution to the task of the struggle with terrorism. The American president made it clear that he does not share the opinion of Russia concerning the cooperation of the Georgian authorities with the terrorists.”
Also on September 20, a leading Republican senator, John McCain of Arizona, warned on the floor of the Senate: “In an opportunistic twist of President Bush’s policy of preemption against clear and present dangers to America and the world, President Putin of Russia has appropriated American rhetoric in the war on terrorism to justify Russian subversion of the Georgian state. A free Russian hand in Georgia is apparently the price President Putin believes the United States is willing to pay for Russia’s support for military action against Iraq. President Bush and the Congress of the United States should disabuse our friends in Moscow of this illusion, immediately…. I believe President Putin has indeed made a historic decision to align his country with the West…. Yet Russia’s threat to Georgia, like Russia’s brutality in Chechnya, calls to mind a discredited, imperial past whose resurgence threatens the transformation in U.S.-Russian relations and, in particular, our joint commitment to eradicating the networks of global terror that threaten both our peoples” (Mccain.senate.gov, September 20).